Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 11, 2021
But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. 1 John 2:5-6, NLT
I am learning how helpful it is to first stretch my muscles and joints before I jump into exercise. This 20 minute routine warms up my body to maximize the benefits of cardio work and strength training, and to minimize the chance for injury. In a similar way reading the scripture and prayer stretch my soul and warm my spirit to receive God’s love and truth to be worked out in obedience. My life comes alive for Jesus, as I know Him more deeply, I love Him more dearly and I obey Him more diligently. Obedience to God’s word grows my love to love as Jesus loves.
John reminds us that the cross of Christ is not just a one time belief of salvation, but an ongoing working out of our salvation in love. The cross is a commandment of love to be lived out as Jesus lived and loved. It is the daily practice of dying to our selfish desires and coming alive to selfless service. Jesus is the Word of Truth to be embraced and obeyed. Our imitation of Christ is His invitation to intimate love. Our total trust and obedience shows how completely we love Jesus. When we first believed we only began to fathom the depths of God’s love that he reveals over time.
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Ephesians 3:17-19, NLT).
Our first experience of the Lord’s love was like being stranded on a lifeboat on a dark night in the middle of the ocean. In the distance a ship’s light became brighter as it moved closer, eventually rescuing us. We enjoyed immediate safety and security, and as the sun rose, we realized our captain Jesus had set sail our life on a new trajectory of trust, obedience, love and adventure. We soon discovered God’s massive ship of salvation was a “love boat” not for hedonism, but for preparation for heaven’s perfect love. If we remain strapped to the mast by fear and disobedience we miss the fruit of love to be discovered throughout the ship’s state rooms of abundance and joy.
Is your love being made complete by your obedience to Christ’s commands? Your next level of loving better may mean forgiving an unfair critic, apologizing to a co-worker, serving the poor, respecting someone who doesn’t deserve respect or deferring to what a friend or family member wants. Love grows as a motivation when obedience moves from duty to delight. Surrender to His will be done, and release my will be done. Begin to stretch your soul by being still and warming up your spirit with Scripture reflection and listening prayer to what the Spirit is saying. Once you experience perfect love—then truly obey, by loving others as you have been loved.
“Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. We know that the truth lives within us because we demonstrate love in action, which will reassure our hearts in his presence” (1 John 3:18-19, TPT).
Heavenly Father, show me how much you love me, so I can love and obey you, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Who needs my love, forgiveness and comfort to help heal her hurting heart?
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